THE Mount Warrigal Kooris made sure their return to the Group 7 third grade competition was one to remember, as they secured an amazing 20-18 upset victory over the Sussex Inlet Panthers at Collegians Sporting Complex on Sunday.
The Panthers got off to a cracking start as Jarrod Hammond scored a brilliant 70 metre intercept try.
Sussex Inlet led 4-nil after the failed conversion by Nathan Dobeson.
The Kooris hit back in fine style 10 minutes later as captain Nathan Austin assisted Matt Fuller with a clever inside ball.
Dylan Riggs converted before slotting two more penalties, as the Kooris led 10-4.
On the stroke of half-time, Sussex Inlet squared the match up at 10-all as Kieran Caldwell scored a vital try for the minor premiers before Dobeson added the extra two points.
The second half proved to be a nail biter as Dylan Riggs produced the best try saver of the game – preventing Matt Fuller to score off the back of an excellent 50 metre break.
Nathan Dobeson played pivotal role for the Panthers in the second period - producing an excellent individual effort from close range and landed two conversions, as the Panthers led 18-10.
The Kooris showed a lot of spirit and determination as Josh McKay and Nathan Austin both scored their respective tries off the back brilliant attacking raids.
Riggs slotted one conversion as the Kooris regained the lead, 20-18.
With two minutes left on the clock, the Panthers got a penalty 20 metres out but Dobeson missed his attempt.
In the final minutes, the Kooris held by the skin of their teeth to claim the third grade premiership, their first since 2007, in their first year back in the competition since 2009.
Dylan Riggs, Nathan Austin, Matt Fuller and Ronald Gatt were the Kooris best while the Hammond brothers, Dale and Jarrod, James Presland and Nathan Dobeson were the Panthers best.